The race to smart mobility deployment is on. Companies are vying for the opportunity to develop autonomous vehicles and communicating technologies, driving both towards real-world deployment. To do so, companies need to find a place that has strength in both the tech and automotive industries. That’s what Pillar Technology is doing.
Pillar Technology, an IT consulting company, has spent over 20 years uncovering and executing industry-disrupting opportunities at lightning speed. It’s not uncommon for Pillar to be the resource that finally cracks the code on a project its clients have been working on for years.
Thirty years ago, Pillar’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Myers, had the opportunity to work on the coast but turned it down. “When I got to [Silicon] Valley, I realized that the majority of the people came from the Midwest,” said Myers. “I knew then that the region already had the capability to make tech companies successful, so I decided to bring my company to fruition in my home state, Ohio. Plus, Ohio is very progressive with regards to creating a platform to expand and grow.”
Pillar has been rapidly growing since the beginning. In 2013, Pillar’s growth compelled the company to expand, and reinvest in Ohio. By 2016, the company expanded its software development footprint in the state of Ohio by creating and implementing software and programs centered on e-learning. The company gained significant benefit from Ohio’s technology landscape, which continued to support its fast-paced, innovative business culture.
In August 2018, Accenture acquired Pillar as part of its Industry X.0 practice in North America, an initiative dedicated to furthering connected and smart digital technologies that deliver new hyper-personalized experiences and operational efficiency. At the same time Accenture also acquired Mindtribe, a Silicon Valley-based hardware engineering firm.
“It says a lot about Pillar and Ohio’s tech environment that we were the tech company that got acquired, and the company from Silicon Valley was a hardware company,” said Myers.
The acquisition was a reminder that Pillar proved itself unique among other tech companies. In search of a challenge, Pillar sought a new application for its innovative technology solutions. Its home in Ohio presented the perfect opportunity. Ohio’s strength in both the tech and the automotive industry merited a reputation as a hub for smart mobility research and piloting. Pillar saw the opportunity to take its knowledge and technology and apply it to smart mobility by using a hyper-advanced form of artificial intelligence that drastically reduces the time it takes to analyze data.
“We are making a significant investment in mobility because we believe this is the space race of our generation,” explained Myers. “We have spent years working on making embedded software smart, and now we have the opportunity to help the industry scale their ability to build and validate game changing solutions. We believe this technology has the ability to save millions of lives.”
Pillar turned to JobsOhio, a trusted partner for the company since their initial investment. In May 2018, JobsOhio awarded Pillar a $2 million Research & Development (R&D) Center Grant for the company to establish an R&D center dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles. The R&D center will accelerate the advancement of groundbreaking intellectual property for the development, testing and validation of connected, autonomous and electric vehicles.
“Ohio has always been supportive of our goals, and consistently responds when we reach out,” Myers said. “For JobsOhio and those it works with, it’s all about building relationships and becoming a trusted partner in the process.”
“Pillar Technology could have chosen anywhere for its R&D center, but it chose Ohio,” said JobsOhio Senior Managing Director for Automotive, Kristi Tanner. “The revolutionary work Pillar is doing to accelerate autonomous vehicle technology is positioning it as an emerging world leader in this field, and it’s happening here in Ohio.”
Pillar’s new R&D center will be located in central Ohio and will serve as an open and collaborative area to assemble the Columbus automotive and tech communities. The center is part of a growing list of smart mobility initiatives in central Ohio such as Smart Columbus, the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) which will house a smart mobility research and testing center, and DriveOhio, the statewide one-stop-shop initiative dedicated to smart mobility.
“Columbus has a history of being innovative,” said Myers. “Retail, insurance and banking have grown here and now Ohio is a major player in tech and definitely smart mobility.”